Instantaneous responses of online users to an object of attention in the Internet can make that material viral and so help the source achieve its intent –  hits for virtual stardom.This aim is not easy to achieve. Network metrics are now available to monitor which are potentially viral for corporations to plug in advertisements.

The Internet as a communication platform allows for any user with access to available free or paid applications to create, upload, download, post and share videos, photographs, texts, music and other programs. What we find now online are various displays that appeal to our multiple senses. Everything is seeking attention, in any form measured in terms of hits, views, reads, likes and shares.

The web is an interconnected network of information. When users connect and access any information in the Internet, others will surely know that behavior. With cloud networking technology, virtual platforms or websites have advanced into a more interactive social community. Business entities have interest on these online sites to connect to the users and market their products.

Consider Youtube, blog sites, and Facebook. In YouTube users can take advantage of its utilities and people can comment and share the videos to anyone else. In Facebook, advertisements are placed on the sidebars of your wall, and with those people or organizations you subscribe to. Sometimes, you will receive notifications of advertisements from your friends, and your friends are using them as well to market their own products. There are bloggers too who write for advertisements, just pay attention to the links and pop-ups aside from the obvious display ads in their site.

The Internet is a hyperreal market, where the users are potential consumers. There the demand for information is heightened by the frequency and the adjunct elements of interest in the displayed attention object. Value to the display object is added when attention is put to it. More views, more shares, more likes, more comments, more backlinks means more hits.  Those make the source an instant online star, and business wise could earn a lot from it.

 

Passing the Virus On

Instantaneous reactions result from our immediate perception of the display object. “Awesome”, “This gave me goosebumps”,  “Nice”, “good”, “OMG”, “WTF is this?”, “Darn”, “That’s not true”. Those are several of the comments tagged to a viral photo, video, message that we could find in an online social network are public site. Whether we react positively or negatively to the object on display, our consequent response to “share” that.

Online, we still bring our human side as social individuals. We feel and react with and towards another. When we see that someone “liked” what we posted, our esteem is affirmed. When comments  go deeper to tell something about our character or personality, our identity is validated, so we try to sustain such behavior. If we do not get any response from others, we tend to find ways to get their attention with another post, shout out or anything we could share.

Because we are social individuals we share. Since sharing is free, uninhibited and unregulated in a social network and in most interactive sites, we immediately click the like buttons or the share buttons. This reaction is instantaneous. Most often, we do not think and rethink of the consequences our online behavior could have on others. We are not much aware that we make an online display object viral by that instantaneous response.

Then after awhile we realize that we were so ignorant and irresponsible of our actions. That we merely followed bandwagon even if we did not know where it came from and where it is really going. We justify our actions as correct because we know others did the same thing. It is always easier for us to just get along what others are doing, but rarely do we pause and think about what we were doing.

The Internet is a potential source for anyone to make a name for his/her self. It is a potent media to lash on other people. It is an easy source to spread information or any display object like a virus. However, we need to know the source of the information or the material we are sharing, and also their intention, before we make our little individual online space a node to transmit that to our network members. While everyone seems to be interconnected online, we have to be more responsible.

 

Caught by the Virus

More and more people are getting online. With Wireless Broadband technology more accessible, and mobile communications getting cheaper and more adaptive for online usage, the web has more users connected to a network.

There are two posts in this blog, which I have earlier written, one about a campaign in Facebook dubbed as “invasion of memories” that went viral, and another is on “scampaigns” or “scare” messages that had many panicking about the nuclear radiation coming from Japan when it was hit by a tsunami. However, just recently while I was not busy replying to emails, comments on my blogs or shout outs, I have suspicions as well as criticisms to two videos being shared in my social network.

Malicious Dadalicious – The first video is about how to have a Benilde Accent“. This came infuriating and insulting to many students and faculty members of the school. In this video uploaded in Youtube, a girl named “Dadalicious” tried to tell her story of encountering a student from the said school, whom she despised because of her accent which the girl described as pretentious and characterizing that of Captain Hook’s. She probably wanted to make a funny video and create a name for herself, but she was irresponsible to name a specific school and even identified her friend’s name.

The students from the said school are active online users, and so some of their teachers too. Affected by the video, their instant response was to comment about it, and post their comment in their own Facebook walls. In 24 hours, it had 8,967 visits in YouTube, including my two visits. How this got to a Benildean’s attention must be intentional, if not a curious user must be searching about “Benilde” and unhappily stumbled on this video. Only one graduate of the same school directly replied to it using the same technology.

The video content as per its message was offensive to some, but only one Benildean replied in a video format, while others kept on sharing the said video. Now in this case, the affected ones (offended or not, having the purported accent or not) or just the concerned members of the school’s community are contributing their share by keeping the “link” in their walls. They are making Dadalicious, whose intent was malicious, rise to infamy.

What made this video “viral” though it really is not as per social network metrics, is that it appeals to the emotion with a particular bad taste. It is is insulting and outright directly hitting on some group of individuals. Naming the student or the school are offensive tactics to get some response, practically when it is making a faulty generalization by stereotyping the whole for an impression about a single individual. It was rude, unethical and irresponsible, but since the degree of offense is not immediately obvious to an online user, it stirs curiosity.

Random Girl Video – Another video on YouTube is getting a plenty of hits, likes and shares over Facebook. This video shows a girl singing in videoke at a certain mall. Indeed she has a beautiful voice. The video as of the time of this posting has 373,585 views. Behaving like the others in my network, I checked the link from their wall, because it has been frequently appearing and the video is getting “nice” reviews. But, I reserve some suspicions.

Why would a talented individual keep her face off the screen, like keeping her voice to be heard by everyone else? When this girl has that beautiful voice, she should have auditioned in the proper venues? Is it just because, the video was taken by some random person who happened to like the way she sings and caught it and uploaded it without her knowledge? Does she want to be a sensational hit over the Internet or just happened to be unsuspecting of the said video? There are a plenty of questions as to the intent of displaying the video.

The elements of surprise and mystery are in that video. The voice was brilliant but had no face in it. Anonymity made users more curious to know about the “random girl” and to hear her voice. However, in the same video the name of the “random girl” appears. If you search her name in Facebook, you will find a fan page where you can subscribe. If I am not mistaken access in altering or adding any content to the video is restricted for the owner of the video only. The owner of this video was able to identify the “voice” and his video was a hit. The elements to get the attention of an audience “hungry” for objects of attention were just right there to get such number of views.

It must be sheer surprise for the source of this video to capture it and upload it in YouTube. So far, he has uploaded 137 videos in the site, but only this video has gotten that huge number of views within one week. That video has helped the “random girl” get the attention of online users, that it was even supported Yahoo Philppines SHE.

 

Display and Attention

Sources of any display online are there for the users attention. They want comments, likes, views, reviews, shares. Advertisers prey on users’ creations shared online, and they are out there vigilantly monitoring the behavior of the online users. They are in the lookout for what is hitting the meters that measure audience share and responses. Those who gets the right number of hits become an instant star.

Traditional media like the television, radio and print are also capitalizing on the potentials of the social media. In some news nowadays, their source of information and materials are those posted online. They are also in the lookout for trends in the Internet and they broadcast this in their news reports. Likewise, online writers, bloggers and copywriters are also immersed in wave of information transferred over the Internet.

The primary reason of display is to get attention. However, online users have selective responses and filters towards materials on display. Despite their possible instantaneous affects, they also have values to make judgments and decisions.  Online users, the active and more so the inactive, would like to be updated, and they have to that tendency to the ride the waves of attention poured into a specific displayed object. The users’ behavior are affected by the many other elements in front of their screen and so with the task they are doing by that time.

So, it becomes more probable that online users tend to take actions that they regret later on. Hitting the keys and clicking the mouse are really easy, being more responsible doesn’t operate that way regarding our online behavior. We need to be responsible with what we share online, as we do not have the control of who can get this and how they will use it, and in most cases, links provide permanence to what we post online.

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